Beware of the Cobra!

By Drum Digital
08 September 2010

TWO years ago Ayanda Dlamini was living a life of poverty in rural KwaZulu-Natal. His parents were both dead and he was supporting his four sisters on his paltry nursing salary of R3 600 a month.

He’d all but resigned himself to a life of hardship when the unbelievable happened: his soccer skills were spotted on a lowly pitch and he was transported to a different world.Today Ayanda Dlamini has left bedpans and blood pressure monitors well and truly behind him for a career in the Premier Soccer League (PSL). The 25-year-old striker emphatically announced his departure from the amateur ranks by becoming the fourth highest goal scorer in the PSL in his very first season.

He joined Orlando Pirates star Daine Klate (then with SuperSport United) on the list of top scorers: both players found the back of the net 10 times in the 2009/10 season.

Now Ayanda, who was also AmaZulu’s 2009/10 Player of the Year, has set his sights on becoming the top goal scorer this season. His impressive strike rate has earned him the nickname Cobra – and his opponents know all about the pain one of his scorching shots on goal can inflict.

We meet the lanky Usuthu striker at the suburban house in Durban North that is owned by the soccer club and shared by Ayanda and several of his teammates. Being recruited by AmaZulu has been a life-changing experience, the young goalscoring machine says. “I had accepted life the way it was.”

Now there’s only one way forward for him: all the way to the top.

AYANDA grew up in Kwa-Ceza near Ulundi, the second of four children. Although he enjoyed soccer he confesses he didn’t dream of making a living from the game. “I focused on singing for the school choir when I was at Nsukangihlale Primary in Kwa-Ceza. A teacher of mine forced me to take soccer seriously when he saw me playing in Grade 6.”

Read the full feature in DRUM of 16 September 2010

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